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Remembering 9/11: A composer's journey

31 Aug 2021

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in America

United Airlines Flight 93 memorial

When Professor of Social and Autoethnographic Composition Kevin Malone joined our University's music department in 1999, he could never have envisaged that two years later the events of 9/11 in his home country of America would take him on a transatlantic journey of musical discovery.

Since then, Kevin has researched and composed music about the events of 9/11. He is the only composer in the world who's written eight works about the events, all of which have been performed internationally, including on radio and television. Some are also available on CD.

And the newest work, "Sudden Memorials", will be premiered in London's prestigious Wigmore Hall on 11 September at 1pm, the exact hour in the UK 20 years ago when the events of 9/11 commenced. A few hours later, “Sudden Memorials" will have its American premiere by Marilyn Nonken at New York University. The Kosovo Philharmonic will perform two of Kevin's 9/11 works for orchestra on the same day.

Kevin says: "The work is based on a photograph, shown above, that I took of a makeshift wire fence near the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 Shanksville, Pennsylvania. On the fence, visitors had been attaching objects of remembrance, loss, honour and thanks since the crash.

"The photo captured a sudden, transient moment of hundreds of items, some carefully designed and brought to the site, while others were spontaneously offered when visitors were moved upon seeing it."

Manchester alumnus Dr Adam Swayne, now Deputy Head of Keyboard at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), will premiere the work at the London event.

  • A CD of "Sudden Memorials” will be released on Coviello COV92111 on 11 September at the premiere in London and on digital download starting 3 September.